A federal judge in Louisiana on Friday blocked the Biden administration from lifting the Title 42 order, which immigration officers have used to expel migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, including asylum-seekers.
Twenty-four states blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from repealing Title 42, which the Biden administration had promised to remove, beginning Monday.
District Judge Robert R. Summerhays in Lafayette, Louisiana, who was appointed by then-President Donald Trump, ruled that the Biden administration violated administrative law in April when it announced its intention to halt Title 42, a health order aimed at preventing the spread of communicable diseases in the country.
In his ruling, Summerhays said the removal of Title 42 would cause "irreparable harm" because U.S. border states would subsequently have to spend money on health care, law enforcement, education and other services for migrants.
"In sum, the Court finds that the Plaintiff States have established a substantial likelihood of success based on the CDC’s failure to comply with the rulemaking requirements of the [Administrative Procedure Act]. This finding is sufficient to satisfy the first requirement for injunctive relief," Summerhays wrote in his decision.
As a counter, Department of Justice lawyers representing the administration argued that Title 42 was originally meant to be temporary, and that it merely served as an emergency health order.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre offered this statement Friday night regarding the ruling on Title 42:
"The Administration disagrees with the court's ruling, and the Department of Justice has announced that it will appeal this decision. The authority to set public health policy nationally should rest with the Centers for Disease Control, not with a single district court. However, in compliance with the court's injunction, the Biden Administration will continue to enforce the CDC's 2020 Title 42 public health authority pending the appeal.
"This means that migrants who attempt to enter the United States unlawfully will be subject to expulsion under Title 42, as well as immigration consequences such as removal under Title 8.
"As the appeal proceeds, the Department of Homeland Security will continue planning for the eventual lifting of Title 42 in light of CDC’s public health judgment, at which point anyone who attempts to enter the country unlawfully will be subject to Title 8 Expedited Removal proceedings, if they do not have grounds to remain in the United States."
In March 2020, the CDC — under then-President Trump — established Title 42 in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last month, the CDC and the Biden White House announced they would stop expelling migrants under Title 42 starting May 23 and resume detaining and deporting migrants who don’t qualify to enter and remain in the United States — a longer process that allows migrants to request asylum here.
This prompted the 24-state injunctive lawsuit, aimed at blocking the CDC's repealing of Title 42. The states collectively argued that the chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border — where roughly 7,400 migrants are crossing the southern border per day, with projections for the coming months potentially topping out at 10,000 crossings per day — still warranted Title 42 protections.
The 24 states involved in the injunction are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
A preliminary injunction is intended to preserve the status quo to "protect [the] plaintiff from irreparable injury and preserve the court's power to render a meaningful decision after a trial on the merits."
The CDC, DOJ and Biden administration now have the option of appealing Summerhays' ruling to a higher court.
Earlier this month, Newsmax chronicled a CNN/SSRS poll that determined that nearly 60% of Americans do not support the Biden administration's decision to repeal the Title 42 order, which allows migrants to be turned away at the U.S.-Mexico border and stopped from seeking asylum for public health reasons.
Among the 1,007 respondents, 57% don't believe it's the right time to lift Title 42, compared with 43% favoring an end to Title 42.
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